The second half of “The World Has Turned and Left Me Here” rolled along way better than the first half. The first half repeated the essential beats of the first four episodes. Damon and Bonnie want to leave their 1990s hell but can’t because of Kai; Elena doesn’t want to remember her love for Damon, resists ending the compulsion, and flirts with her male model classmate before inviting him to the local corn maze; Alaric struggles to socialize with people, especially women, because of his new bloodlust; Tyler doesn’t want to become a werewolf again, and he also wants to date Liv; Caroline wants old Stefan back-the one she may love, not the jerk who flees town as often as Jeremy pumps iron, swigs whiskey, and sulks. Oh my goodness gracious does he sulk. He sulks more than season one Dawson Leery after he initially failed to attract Jen Leary. Elena and male model go to another party. Stefan has to fend off crazy vampire Ivy. Alaric sits in his classroom, reading a book and drinking vodka. Kai smugly addressed Damon and Bonnie while bullying them. And then Tyler runs his car through the corn maze, which injures dozens, and moves everything forward.
Yes, indeed: Tyler ‘crashes’ the corn maze party after receiving a text from Liz. One of Ivy’s victims ran into the street. Tyler swerved. The car ran over dozens of incredibly attractive young people, dressed to the nines in the trendiest styles one will see displayed in a mall fashion store. The mass carnage caused by the car crash puts different characters in difficult, challenging situations. Elena clearly never listened in her medical classes because she looks at a loss to help the injured. Immediately she resorts to vampire healing while her male model love interest helps and heals more people than a Zen Buddhist guru. The Mystic Falls gang must heal everyone or else Tyler becomes a werewolf, which is why Elena will let the hurt drink her blood. Male model character, though, naturally heals and raises eyebrow when he sees a previous hurt victim walking away from carnage with smiles and peals of laughter. Alaric helps Jo with the injured, resisting blood all the while, which challenges his vampirism and his growing interest in Jo-a kind, compassionate, sexy, fun doctor who instructs to Liv to provide comfort for a dying man.
Where does the crisis lead each character? It’s a wonderful plot device for such movement. Elena kisses male model again, unaware about Damon’s return from the 1990s hell. She continues to move on and away from him while he thought about his first night back with her leading up to his comical escape from hell. Liv kills the injured, dying guy to prevent Tyler from becoming a werewolf. Death is used in many ways in The Vampire Diaries. The deaths of Damon and Bonnie caused intense grief and anguish. The death of the young guy brings Liv and Tyler closer. It’s one of the rarer moments in TVD when characters reflect about a death rather than ignoring it like the human was no more than a gnat. Liv feels bothered, bummed, depressed, disturbed, or what-have-you, about what she did for Tyler. Tyler’s rarely had moments when he humanly connects with others, but he helps her cope with her lifechanging decision. It shows Liv’s decision mattered; she acted to save Tyler’s humanity. In that scene Tyler’s never been more human (except for the time he flipped out at Caroline for having sex with the guy who killed his mother). For Alaric and Jo, the night ends in failed compulsion. Alaric looks intrigued and curious. How does she know? Oh these mysteries.
The Caroline/Stefan story continues the strongest thread of the season: Stefan’s depression over his brother’s death. One of the earlier scenes, with Alaric, showed his frustrations about Elena’s choice to forget Damon and live so easily afterwards. Alaric confronts him about lying about his mission to save Damon. Stefan laments the difficulties and challenges of his life, how he cannot start anew because Enzo and Caroline show up, and that leads to Enzo killing Ivy with his blood in her which leads her to becoming an uncontrollable hungry vampire. Caroline and Stefan do not reconcile. Their relationship further regresses. In a later scene, near the episode’s end, Caroline bids him adieu. She doesn’t want him around. But when people feel completely lost, a ray of light, to use a common phrase, will shine. Indeed, a light comes to Stefan in the darkness of the Salvatore tomb during his tearful conversation with their memories about how lost he feels without his brother only to look and see when he throws his bottle of bourbon, in frustration, into the waiting hand of Damon, newly returned from hell. Again, the strongest love story in The Vampire Diaries is the fraternal one.
Damon returned alone because Bonnie took an arrow to the chest, shot by Kai, and couldn’t stand in the magic light back to Virginia. The 1990s storyline repeats the essential beats. Kai bluffed his way to the precipice of escape. The way he left will motivate Damon to find a way to save Bonnie. The entire episode follows this idea that’s prevalent in television: “don’t become comfortable; change it up when characters become comfortable.” “Comfort” isn’t the best word to use. Complacency works better for the specific context of this specific world and the fictional inhabitants of this world. Sadness and inaction doesn’t create awareness. The only aware one is Caroline and so, of course, she sees Tripp take Ivy into his death van. Damon’s the catalyst. Now it’s on to the next segment of season where inaction becomes action.
-Jo tells Alaric that she thinks she was meant to know him. I never thought a thought of mine would find an echo in The Vampire Diaries. Once upon a time I thought I was meant to know a girl. I had never been surer of a feeling and of a person I barely knew more than I was of her and her meaning on my life; I have never been more wrong in my life.
-Kai’s desire to escape is very similar to the professor’s desire last season to resurrect his wife. That’s not good. Both are equally dreadful stories.
-Brett Matthews wrote the episode. I missed the name of the director.